I found it such an interesting read, as I have a 2 year old called Sukie, who has had a chronic bloating problem for a year now. It was diagnosed by x ray (so weird to see all the gas bubbles on the x ray!) and Prepulsid didn't help a lot.
The things that I have found to cause problems are veggies (all veggies seem to cause her to bloat up a little), and dried grass (Readigrass, Just Grass, Excel Forage etc). Fresh grass doesn't seem to affect her at all, and she gets on really well with it.
She has always had dodgy digestion - she had a UTI and reacted very badly to Baytril when she was younger. She got terrible diarrhoea and was in awful pain.
The one thing that I've found that helps the bloat is Entrodex probiotic, which can be bought online. I had used Avipro Plus with her and not found it particularly helpful, but Entrodex is so much better, So much so that when she first started on it, it was like she had a new lease of life instead of sitting around all day. Trouble is, I don't know if it can be used indefinitely.
Anyway, hope you find this helpful. I'd definitely be very interested in hearing more about experiences with bloat.
Just one question - has anyone found any particular hays make any difference? My 3 have Oxbow timothy and won't eat anything else (posh pigs!), but given that the dried grass is bad for her, I just wondered if anyone had any experiences with hay etc?
None of my 3 pigs will touch dried grass, they'll only eat fresh grass. I normally feed mine Devonshire Meadow Hay, but I have started giving them some Oxbow Western Timothy, as I was cutting down on Milly's veggies, and they love that. Neither of these hays seem to affect Millys bloat, and a hay-only diet does help to reduce it.
Milly gave me a real fright this morning. When I first checked her, she was drinking her water. Half an hour later, I went to give her the first lot of medicine, and found her colapsed in the cage. She was flat on her tummy, head on the floor, and back legs straight out behind her. She tried to walk, but her head wobbled from side to side, and she couldn't stand up properly, she just sort of dragged herself along on the floor. I had no idea what to do, and the vets wasn't open for another hour. I had her probiotic ready, so I syringed a little into her. I sat her on my lap, and put some food in front of her. She tucked into the food, and when it was all gone, I put her back in the cage to see how she was. She just gave a little totter, and wandered over to start eating the hay!
I really don't know what was wrong with her. My first thought was a stroke, but I think she recovered too quickly. She seem to recover just by eating. With her being diabetic, I did wonder if maybe her blood sugar levels were a bit low, and eating corrected it, but I just don't know if this can happen to a pig. I didn't take her to the vet, as it was emergencies only today, and she looked perfectly normal, apart from her usual bloat. I've also fed her veggies today, which may not help her bloat, but I didn't want her colapsing again. I've been watching her like a hawk, but she seems fine now, so we'll see what the vet says at her check up.
How do they track diabetes in a guinea pig? Is she on any meds for it that you said you thought her sugar was to low and may have caused her to collapse?
Sweetpea is my most sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. Was it warmer or more humid than normal in her pen area or did the temperature rise or lower more quickly than she is used to?
When I first brought her here and didn't know her well yet nor that she had underlying problems it was one scary thing after the other with her. One being her collapse from humidity.That day was horribly muggy. It wasn't really to terribly hot yet and none of the other babies were affected at all but it almost killed her! It was heartbreaking and terrifying for sure.
I walked in to discover her laid out flat on her belly with her legs behind her too and her head down. When I tired to gently lift her she felt quite warm and weak. I knew she was to hot and starting to dehydrate if she wasn't completely dehydrated already.
I quick made a luke warm bath in the sink and slowly slid her (hind end first of course) into the water with a towel on the bottom to make her feel secure and to slowly bring her body temp down. (Never use cold water nor put them in to quickly or the risk of shock is very high) I started syringing room temp water and pedyalite into her while she was supported on the towel and she began to perk back up. Within about 15-20 minutes she made like nothing happened and wanted snack!
That prompted me to immediately put an air conditioner in their room and begin running it in late spring already. I have a temp and humidity monitor in their room and run a dehumidifier when needed as well. We now have central air in but the first year I had the babies we did not.
Sweetpea seems to have a defect in her ability to adjust to any temperature changes. She shivers and makes herself nests when she is cold and none of the other babies seem to think it is to cool at all. I keep a lot of bankies in her pen for her because of this.
I am very strict about keeping their room as close to the same temp and humidity level as possible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Crud! I just looked it up! Diabetes can cause problems regulating body temperature! It comes from autonomic nerve damage:( You know it may also be the cause of her bloating too. I am sure diabetes can damage guinea pigs like it does humans. After all diabetes is diabetes. I copied and pasted the list of things under this type of nerve damage.
digestive problems such as feeling full, nausea,
vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation
problems with how well your bladder works
problems having sex
dizziness or faintness
loss of the typical warning signs of a heart attack
loss of the warning signs of low blood glucose
increased or decreased sweating
changes in how your eyes react to light and dark
I don't think the colapse was caused by humidity or change of temperature. This was at 9.00am in the morning, and the inside temperature was probably no higher than 66F. There's not much variation in the temperature at this time of year around their cage. It is likely to be humid over the next few days though, so I will watch her closely. The link between diabetes and digestive problems is certainly worth thinking about. It could be why she bloats up so easily.
Maremma, in reply to your earlier question about dandelion leaves, Milly has always been OK with these. I gave her one or two throughout the day when she was only eating hay, and there was no sign that it was making her bloating worse. I always give all 3 of them a dandelion leaf if I find any in the garden, but they have never had more than three of four leaves in a day. I'll have to try giving some to Milly on a daily basis, and see if it helps to reduce her bloat.
He also confirmed that he has done a fecal float, and there was no sign of parasites.
He reckons that all Milly’s problems may be linked to one underlying cause, but it may be difficult to identify what it is. We’ve got to see how she goes over the next few days, and think about having a full blood test done, to check all sorts of things like liver and kidney functions. It will be another £60 or so, on top of the £600 we’ve already paid out in vets fees so far this year. I want to find out what the problem is, but it depends on what the chances are of being able to treat it, or whether it will still be just managing the symptons like we are now.
I’ve had to cut out her veggies again for a couple of days to reduce her bloat back down. It seems to be the only thing that has any effect. I stopped the veggies yesterday, and have just given her a few dandelion leaves. She has plenty of hay and a small amount of pellets. Her bloat hadn’t gone down as much as I hoped it would by this morning, so she has had to go without her veggies again today, but she is looking thinner this evening, so I’ll probably give her a small amount tomorrow morning. She’s still on the metaclopramide.
- You can quote me
A full blood panel doesn't necessarily decide anything, but it can often give a good direction in which to start looking.
Maybe try just giving her very small pieces when she is used to getting them so she won't be so stressed from not having any at all and see if she can tolerate much smaller peices.
I am sorry you have not been able to find the underlying cause of her troubles. I understand the frustration and fear. We all wish these little ones could tell us for themselves how they are feeling and what hurts.
- I GAVE, dammit!
Since you mentioned previoiusly that she has diabetes, how was this diagnosed?but he had carried out several urine tests when she was kept in, and none of the glucose levels were that far off normal.
You really need to get a blood test to diagnose this properly.
Some things don't show up in fecal floats. You might consider another float, and also a gram stain.
Blood is usually a starting point.
I've given Milly a very small amount of just a couple of veggies this evening, and I'll give her the same tomorrow morning. I'm only going to give her small amounts from now on, rather than risk making the bloating worse. The bloat hasn't gone down as much as the first time I put her on a hay-only diet, but it is better.
I'd really like to try and get her moving around a bit more, as I think this may help. She's not running around the cage as much as a couple of months ago. I've tried leading her around the floor with a piece of parsley in front of her nose, but she only takes a couple of steps before giving up. Any suggestions for making a nearly blind pig move around? She won't follow the other pigs; she was always the leader, they followed her.
Milly's diabetes was originally diagnosed only from a urine test. She was only slightly diabetic then, the same as the current urine tests have indicated. I don't think the vet has done a blood test yet to check the glucose level because the urine tests have all been fairly consistant.
I don't know much about gram stains. She doesn't finsh the antibiotic course for another few days, and she is also on probiotics. Would these affect a gram stain?
I keep Sweetpea's hay on the furtherest corner form her favorite bed and her food and water on opposits sides too. She has to make rounds every single time she wants to eat her beloved hay!
She's still bloated. Not badly, but quite noticeable. Nothing I'm trying seems to reduce it now, but at least it's not getting worse. She hasn't been herself since she reacted against the baytril. Most of the time, she just sits there slightly puffed up. She perks up soon enough if you wave a piece of her favourite veggie under her nose, so I think she just feels a bit uncomfortable and sorry for herself. He whole day always centred around feeding times, so it hasn't helped cutting out most of her veggies. I take her out the cage now and feed her separately, and I'm sure she can smell the food that the other two have had when I put her back in with them.
If I can gradually increase the amount of veggies she has without any further bloating, I'll be able to start feeding them all together again, but I will stick to smaller, more frequent meals, to see if that helps her bloating.
Milly will be seeing the vet again towards the end of the week, so I'll talk to him again about a full blood test. If I can't get the bloating down any more, we'll have to try the blood test, and hope that it gives some pointers towards the cause of the problem.
Capybara, thanks for sending the Shilintong, I'll let you know when they arrive.
Are you putting probiotics WITH the veggies you give her? I have just recently begun sprinkling acidophilus on every veggie I give Sweetpea and it does seem to be helping keep her belly down.
It does feel cruel to restrict them the veggies they so love, live for and their friends so easily can eat with no trouble. I can't help but keep trying ot find ways to let her have as many different veggies as possible.
I am lucky in that Sweetpea doesn't seem to get upset to be taken out of the room when they other babies need to eat something I know she can;t have. I just take her out with me and hand feed her some criticare with a little bit of something she can have. Again lucky for me she ADORES celery and it doesn;t seem to create any trouble for her so I usually give her some of that. It also takes her much longer to eat it and so she THINKS she is getting a lot more goody than she really is that way. LOL
I'm still trying to find just plain acidophilus capsules. All the shops I've tried all have products with extra probiotics added, like the Acidophilus Plus. I may have to order some over the net.
I'm currently looking at herbs that help digestion, and checking to see if they are safe for pigs. I'll see what I can find in the Health Food shops, and see if anything helps her.